WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Continuing our countdown to number one for WTRF’s top 10 stories of the year that have affected the Ohio Valley here in 20-19 —number five is Wheeling University’s name change.
This effected the Ohio Valley in several ways, and even left many students wondering if their school’s doors would reopen in the fall of 2019. I sat down with Wheeling University President Ginny Favede today about how this name change not only greatly affected the school but also the Ohio Valley and even herself.
Although many graduated over the years from the school under Jesuit order, the university dropped the Jesuit name turning the page into a new year simply as Wheeling University. Ginny Favede at that time was appointed as the Chair of the Board of Trustee’s where she would later reign in as Wheeling University’s President.
We cut theology as a major. And they felt that we could not truly be a Jesuit school without offering theology as a major. The decision was not necessarily ours, but one that we had to comply with. And certainly, one that’s been very painful; very painful for those of us at the university, as well as our alumni.GINNY FAVEDE – PRESIDENT, WHEELING UNIVERSITY
After the name change in the spring, misconception stirred. A school with over one thousand kids enrolled, would soon have over 600 kids transferring, leaving just 400 students. One being Ginny’s son.
The students didn’t necessarily leave because the majors were cut. The students left because this university failed to communicate, and they didn’t know. The students didn’t know, the parents didn’t know, no one really knew whether or not we were going to open in the fall, and certainly whether or not we were going to be open through Christmas.GINNY FAVEDE – PRESIDENT, WHEELING UNIVERSITY
But, shortly after being named president in October, Ginny made It her mission to embrace opportunities for growth, and the school continued to bring new and old sports, and classes back to the university, all while keeping their budget intact.
I think it’s almost been a release, like weight off your shoulders to see it returning to what it was and what it was supposed to have been. We’ve been bringing back the sports. And some of the sports we’re still struggling to get back on track. One of those is wrestling. It’s been exciting to search for those coaches and to make them part of the family as we move forward.GINNY FAVEDE – PRESIDENT, WHEELING UNIVERSITY
Recently, Wheeling University introduced more opportunities. Now, they can lean on other students for help in classes through the Student Success Center and attend one class a semester at West Liberty University, or Bethany College through a consortium.
To rebuild it and put the past behind us. I’s like to rebuild the relationship with the Jesuit society. I would like to rebuild our relationship in the community and with our Alumni. It’s been painful. The things that took place here hurt a lot of people and rebuilding that trust so that we can move forward together is very important to me personally.GINNY FAVEDE – PRESIDENT, WHEELING UNIVERSITY
Ginny said there are other new and exciting opportunities coming to the school in just a few short weeks when class starts, like a brand-new menu and updated cafeteria, Starbucks, and reopening the “Rat” into a bar.